Monday, February 23, 2015

Writing Educational Horse Books

by Christine Meunier

Horse Country by Christine Meunier
When I was a young girl, I loved to read any horse book I could get my hands on.  I loved to read, period.  But as someone who didn't yet have a horse, I was learning horses via my reading.

Today I try to provide the same for readers of my books.  My debut novel Horse Country - A World of Horses, explores the lives of four women working in the horse industry - two as instructors, two in the thoroughbred breeding industry.  The book is very factually based, as I wanted readers to recognise what it is like working with horses.  I also wanted them to learn about these two equine related careers.

This was able to be written as I travelled North East Victoria in Australia, working on thoroughbred studs, as well as at a couple of riding schools in Melbourne, Victoria.  A stint overseas at the Irish National Stud increased my horse breeding knowledge and practical skills.  This knowledge went into my debut novel.

New Beginnings, by Christine Meunier
The same can be said for my Free Rein series.  Although aimed at younger readers (8 - 12 year olds) and a lot more fiction than fact, it is still factually based and contains realistic information with regards to keeping ponies, their care, and riding them.

I struggle when I read a horse book that isn't correct factually, so it's my hope that as horse crazy readers journey with me by reading one of my novels, that they will enjoy the storyline, but also enjoy the learning that comes with reading about horses.

For me, it's important that books although fiction, are realistic with any facts, whether they be about history, animals or a particular career.  I realise that even in horse books, terms can be misunderstood or different depending on the country the author originates from: my first horsey reads were the Saddle Club and once I joined pony club, my Australian riding mates were surprised to hear me talking about posting to the trot! (In Australia, it's known as the rising trot).

In a way, this is another thing I love about reading horse books - learning new terminology!  I needed to learn quickly in Ireland that the horse box was the vehicle we used to transport horses (a float in Australia) and not a stall that we house them in for a time!

What horse book or series have you read and learnt from?

2 comments:

  1. Christine - I read constantly about horses growing up, also. It's amazing how much you can learn and absorb this way. Now, though, I am entirely conscious of whether or not the author gets the horse details right. So bravo to you for making sure the new generation of horse-crazy kids reads the "right" stuff.

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  2. Linda, I distinctly remember novels where young children are riding racehorses or stallions and it surprised me and at times annoyed me - I don't like the idea of those reading horse stories assuming that they'll be able to start riding such potentially difficult mounts!

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